occult

1 of 3

verb

oc·​cult ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
ä-
occulted; occulting; occults

transitive verb

: to shut off from view or exposure : cover, eclipse
the light of a star that was about to be occulted … by Uranus itselfJonathan Eberhart
occulter noun

occult

2 of 3

adjective

oc·​cult ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
ä-;
ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
1
: not revealed : secret
deep subterranean occult jealousyJ. C. Powys
2
: not easily apprehended or understood : abstruse, mysterious
occult matters like nuclear physics, radiation effects and the designing of rocketsRobert Bendiner
3
: hidden from view : concealed
occult underground passages
4
: of or relating to the occult
… the occult arts—astrology, palmistry, card reading …Amy Fine Collins
occult practices
5
: not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone
occult carcinoma
also : not present in macroscopic amounts
occult blood in a stool
occultly adverb

occult

3 of 3

noun

oc·​cult ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
ä-;
ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
: matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them
used with the

Examples of occult in a Sentence

Verb occulted their house from prying eyes by planting large trees around it the actor's private life had long been occulted by a contrived public persona Adjective occult practices such as magic and fortune-telling He began to believe he had occult powers.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The values given are eclipse obscurations, the fraction of the Sun’s disk occulted by the Moon. Michael Zeiler, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2024 Among them were Norman Lockyer and Jules Janssen, who together studied the spectra of solar prominences that were suddenly visible around the moon’s occulting silhouette. Paul M. Sutter, Scientific American, 15 Feb. 2024
Adjective
How about an occult secret society, an ancestral deal with the devil and a love triangle? Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 12 June 2024 In Seeing into the Future, the historian Martin van Creveld chronicles the history of forecasting, tracing the way that speculation evolved, over the course of centuries, from an occult religious practice to Cold War statecraft and a critical part of the world economy. Emily Harnett, Harper's Magazine, 26 Apr. 2024
Noun
The most obvious successor garment to the necktie is the baseball cap, which declares its owner’s identity and affiliation not with some tantalizing occult pattern but the painful unsubtlety of actual text—the club named on the cap. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 6 July 2024 Of course the authorities are stumped by these occult killings, since the explanation is supernatural rather than psychological. Peter Debruge, Variety, 6 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for occult 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'occult.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

in part back-formation from occultation, in part continuing Middle English occulten "to keep secret, conceal," borrowed from Latin occultāre "to prevent from being seen, conceal, keep secret," frequentative derivative of occulere "to hide from view, conceal" — more at occult entry 2

Adjective

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin occultus "hidden from sight, secret, esoteric," from past participle of occulere "to hide from view, conceal," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + -culere, from a verb base *cel- "hide," going back to Indo-European *ḱel- "cover, conceal" — more at conceal

Noun

noun derivative of occult entry 2

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1888, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of occult was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near occult

Cite this Entry

“Occult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occult. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

occult

1 of 3 verb
oc·​cult ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio)
ä-
: to shut off from view : cover, eclipse

occult

2 of 3 adjective
oc·​cult ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) ä- How to pronounce occult (audio)
ˈäk-əlt
1
: beyond understanding : mysterious
2
: of or relating to supernatural forces

occult

3 of 3 noun
ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) ä- How to pronounce occult (audio)
ˈäk-əlt
: matters thought to involve the influence of supernatural forces

Medical Definition

occult

adjective
: not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone
occult carcinoma
also : not present in macroscopic amounts
occult blood in a stool specimen
fecal occult blood testing
compare gross sense 1b

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